05/27/09 — County museum to host railroad exhibit

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County museum to host railroad exhibit

By Staff Reports
Published in News on May 27, 2009 1:46 PM

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This photo from the Wayne County Museum's newest exhibit, "The Coming of the Railroad: Then and Now," shows an old steam engine sitting on the tracks that used to run down Center Street in Goldsboro.

The Wayne County Museum will open a new exhibit June 9 featuring the railroad that used to have tracks running down the middle of Center Street.

The story told by the exhibit, titled "The Coming of the Railroad: Then and Now," begins not long after the last spike was driven at the settlement called Goldsborough, where good and easily accessible well water helped convince Waynesborough officials to move the county seat to the new settlement springing up around the train tracks.

About 500 people lived at Waynesborough then. The "History of Wayne County" published in 1975 by the Bicentennial Commission said Waynesborough's buggy manufacturer, Charles J. Nelson, was instrumental in moving the county seat to the new railroad town.

Museum manager Johnna Nelson said she found out from a historical marker that Goldsboro was incorporated in 1847 and became the county seat in 1850. That year a big feast was prepared at Goldsborough where the Wayne Center and the Borden home are now located.

The "History of Wayne County" said hundreds of chickens, hogs, sheep and oxen were used to prepare the big barbecue. "But probably the biggest selling point for the new county seat was its deep cold water well...."

"It's going to be awesome," Mrs. Nelson said about the upcoming exhibit while she was putting up the loaned artifacts and things saved in the museum over the years.

Among the things she found in the museum are the original tracks and ties from "the night they took the tracks down." That story will be highlighted in the exhibit, too, she said.

There will be testimonials of people who remember the railroad way back when, old maps of the railroad route in the early 1920s, a DVD of "The Coming of the Railroad" narrated by Charles Norwood Sr. and several other items.

The Waynesborough Model Railroad Club will set up a display using model trains that will show how the rail cars progressed from start to finish. They also are setting up an 8-foot-by-8-foot electric track with trains that will run for children when they come to see the exhibit.

And the museum will have a new scavenger hunt that will open the same day as the exhibit opening for the summer.

The gift shop will have engineer caps, train whistles and a set of four prints depicting downtown Goldsboro when the railroad was in full swing. And Mrs. Nelson said she hopes to have some children's books that have to do with trains as well.

The exhibit will run through Aug. 28. For information call 734-5023.